How to Choose the Best Medical Alert System: A Comprehensive Guide

Not all medical alert systems are created equal. Find a reliable, easy-to-use device.

Livley Mobile emergency alert device on a grey background

Making the decision to invest in a medical alert system is a big step in ensuring safety, independence, and peace of mind for older adults. Whether you’re a senior looking for ways to maintain your independence, a retiree exploring ways to enhance your safety, an adult child concerned about your aging parents, or a caregiver looking for helpful tools, this guide is designed to help you navigate the complex landscape of medical alert systems.

Understanding Medical Alert Systems

Key features to consider

When choosing a medical alert system, these features can make a big difference in its benefits for your specific needs.

24/7 monitoring services
Make sure the system offers around-the-clock monitoring, so help is always available, no matter what time or day it is.

Ease of use
Look for systems that are easy to use with large, easy-to-press buttons, especially if the user has limited mobility or trouble with their vision.

Range and mobility
Consider the range of the device from its base station. For active seniors, mobile options with GPS tracking can provide additional peace of mind when they’re away from home.

Automatic fall detection
This feature can automatically detect falls and alert the monitoring center, even if the user is unable to press the help button.

Battery life and backup
Check the battery life of both the wearable device and the base station. A system with a long battery life and backup power is essential for reliability during power outages.

Water resistance
Since many falls occur in the bathroom, a water-resistant or waterproof device is highly desirable.

Two-way communication
Make sure the system allows for clear two-way communication between the user and the monitoring center for easy and quick help if and when trouble happens.

Types of medical alert systems

There are a few different types of medical alert systems, with each serving different needs and lifestyles.

In-home systems
These systems are ideal for individuals who mostly stay at home. They typically include a base unit connected to a landline or cellular network and a wearable pendant or wristband.

Mobile systems
Equipped with GPS tracking, mobile systems are perfect for active seniors who spend a lot of time outside their homes. They use cellular networks to provide coverage wherever there’s a signal.

Fall-detection systems
These systems include sensors that detect falls and automatically alert the monitoring center. They can be integrated into both in-home and mobile units.

Health monitoring systems
Some advanced systems offer additional health monitoring features, like tracking heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs, providing a more in-depth health management tool.

Evaluating needs and preferences

Choosing the best medical alert system includes thinking about the user’s specific needs and preferences. Here are some questions to ask that can guide your decision.

What is the primary environment where the system will be used?
If the user mostly stays at home, an in-home system might be enough. For active people, a mobile system might be more appropriate.

Does the user have any medical conditions that require special features?
People with conditions like epilepsy, diabetes or heart issues might benefit from a medical alert system that has health monitoring capabilities.

How tech-savvy is the user?
Make sure the system’s interface matches the user’s comfort level with technology. Simpler systems are often better for those less familiar with tech.

What’s the budget?
The cost of medical alert systems can vary widely. It’s essential to consider both the initial setup costs and the ongoing monthly fees for any medical alert monitoring service.

Recommendations for top medical alert systems

Based on the features discussed, here are some highly recommended medical alert systems.

1. Lively Mobile Plus®
Known for its excellent fall detection capabilities and nationwide GPS coverage, it’s a great choice for older adults seeking mobility and reliability.

2. Lifeline
Offers a variety of systems, including in-home and mobile options, with a reputation for reliable service and ease of use.

3. Bay Alarm Medical
Provides affordable solutions with lots of features, including automatic fall detection and mobile options for active seniors.

4. Medical Guardian™️
Known for its customizable systems and excellent customer service, offering both in-home and on-the-go medical monitoring.

Tips for using a medical alert system

Once you’ve chosen the best medical alert system for your needs, it’s essential to know how to use it effectively. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your device.

Regular testing
To make sure your medical alert system functions correctly when you need it most, perform regular tests. Most companies recommend testing their device at least once a month. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make a test call to the monitoring center. Making this a routine practice can confirm that all the components, including the battery and communication link, are working properly.

Wear your device consistently
The effectiveness of a medical alert system depends on the user wearing the device consistently. Whether it’s a pendant, wristband or clip-on, make it a habit to wear it at all times, especially when moving around the house or going outside. This simple habit helps you confirm you have access to emergency assistance, reducing the risk of unreported incidents.

Update your information
Keep your personal and medical information up to date with your monitoring service provider. Let them know about any changes in your health condition, medications or emergency contacts. This information is crucial for responders to provide the best possible care and support during an emergency.

Educate family and caregivers
It’s helpful to educate family members, caregivers and close friends about how your medical alert system works. Share the specifics of how to operate the device and who to contact in case of an emergency. Having that information ensures that your loved ones are prepared to help you quickly and effectively when you need assistance.

Understand emergency protocols
Get familiar with the emergency response procedures of your monitoring service. Knowing what to expect during an emergency can provide peace of mind and help you stay calm if an incident occurs. Most services will contact emergency medical responders first and then notify your designated emergency contacts.


Choosing the right medical alert system is a crucial decision that can significantly affect the safety and independence of seniors. By understanding the key features, evaluating your specific needs and exploring the top recommendations, you can make an informed choice that provides peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

If you’re ready to maintain your independence and stay safe, we encourage you to explore our recommended options and find the perfect medical alert system today.

Make every day a Holiday

Holiday by Atria communities are the only senior living residences that provide older adults with 24/7 emergency medical and personal assistance support through the Lively Mobile Plus device. With the push of a button, a resident can be instantly connected to a Lively Mobile certified agent for medical assistance. The device also offers driving directions and can connect residents with their family members.

Whether you’re out with a group or on a solo adventure, Holiday’s Lively Mobile Plus wearable device lets you know you’re connected and supported.

Keep reading for more helpful guides from Holiday on senior health & wellness, retirement living and more.

Lively Mobile emergency response device on a teal background

*Advice and tips to help you live your best life are brought to you by Lively by Best Buy Health. And remember, get help at the touch of a button with Lively Mobile Plus.
Holiday offers residents support beyond the community through the wearable Lively™ Mobile Plus GPS device – because we know accidents can happen anywhere.


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